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News | Oct. 5, 2022

Leveraging VRA to hire veterans

By DCMA Total Force

There are various federal hiring authorities supervisors can use to hire civilian and prior military service job seekers, either competitively or non-competitively. One of those authorities is the Veterans Recruitment Appointment authority, known as VRA.

“This special hiring authority allows management to appoint eligible veterans, without competition, to positions at any grade level GS-11 or equivalent and below, regardless of the full-performance level,” said Holly Borah, Field Support Center business partner in the Total Force Directorate.

VRA appointees are hired under excepted appointments to positions that are otherwise in the competitive service. After two years of satisfactory service, the agency must convert the veteran to a career or career-conditional appointment, as appropriate. There is no limitation to the number of VRA appointments an individual may receive, provided the individual is otherwise eligible.

There are four main groups eligible for VRA:

  • Disabled veterans
  • Veterans who served on active duty in the armed forces during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized
  • Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the armed forces, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces Service Medal was awarded
  • Recently separated veterans, within three years of discharge, and separated as a result of an honorable or general discharge.

To hire using the VRA authority, management must submit a Request for Personnel Action and attach a copy of the veteran’s resume; DD214, or statement of service letter in lieu of a DD214; veteran’s affairs letter, if applicable; and transcripts, if applicable.

VRA appointees may be promoted, demoted, reassigned, or transferred in the same way as a career employee. As with other competitive service employees, the time in grade requirement applies to promotions.

Management may also make noncompetitive temporary or term appointments. The temporary or term appointment must be at the GS grades authorized for VRA appointment, but it is not a VRA appointment itself and does not lead to conversion to career conditional.

To learn more about VRA, veterans’ preference, and other veteran hiring authorities, view the Office of Personnel Management's Vet Guide for HR Professionals.